Rangers ~ Devils ~ Islanders:
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Eastern Conference Standings:
#7 ~ Buffalo Sabres - 74 Points
#8 ~ New York Rangers - 74 Points
#9 ~ Carolina 'Canes - 72 Points
#10 ~ Toronto Maple Leafs - 68 Points
#11 ~ Atlanta Thrashers - 68 Points
#12 ~ New Jersey Devils - 66 Points
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. SAN JOSE
BUFFALO vs. TORONTO
NEW JERSEY DEVILS vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
ATLANTA vs. PHILADELPHIA
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS vs. CAROLINA HURRICANE
The Blueshirts missed out on two points they could ill afford to lose after suffering a rather demoralizing loss to the Anaheim Ducks last Wednesday. They failed to seize on a moment they created for themselves with a win over Philly and some helpful losses by the Sabres and Devils last week. Now the Rangers find themselves in eighth place again with their backs against the door. By tonight's end, they could be pushed out of the House of Eight all together.
The Hurricanes are threatening to blow the door wide open on us. A Ranger loss and a Hurricane win leaves us tied for eighth, which really means 9th for us because of the games in hand all these teams have on us.
Buffalo's game against Toronto is a double killer. Buffalo and seventh place can start to creep away from us with a Sabres win coupled with a Ranger loss tonight. But should the Maple Leafs win, they would join the seventy point club and start breathing down our necks as well.
Then there's the Devils who are now a mere eight points behind the Rangers. They take on the spunky New York Islanders tonight who are just two points behind New Jersey. The Rangers have 13 games left on their schedule and the very last one versus the Devils looms larger and larger as April 9th draws closer. The Rangers also have a pair of games against the Islanders before the season ends. The Islanders are 10-3-3 over their last 16 games and will no doubt be providing fits for the Rangers down the stretch as well. After the Sharks tonight, the Rangers fly back home to take on the Islanders at MSG on Tuesday.
All of tonight's games with Eastern Conference implications get under-way and will have ended before the Rangers take the ice tonight for their West Coast 10:30pm start against the San Jose Sharks. They'll know before they take the ice tonight whether they should officially shift into panic mode or not.
We need two points tonight and we have to go through SHARKS to get them.